For a third straight week, the No. 2 ranking in the BCS standings changes hands, with Florida State narrowly edging Oregon for the spot behind Alabama.
But just like two weeks ago, the Seminoles' stay at No. 2 will be short-lived if Oregon wins its Thursday night showdown against No. 5 Stanford. And should the Ducks stay unbeaten, they will be pulling away from the Seminoles in the standings the rest of the season, no matter what else happens.
The math just isn't there for Florida State.
FSU has now defeated two unbeaten Top 10 teams in three weeks and gained possibly everything it could from the voters and the computers. The Seminoles are the top-ranked team by the computers this week with five No. 1s out of the six BCS computers. They also cut into the vote shares of Alabama and Oregon in both polls, even picking up five first-place votes (where they had none last week).
Yet even with all those gains, Florida State will not get into the BCS title game without either an Alabama or Oregon loss. Here's the story behind the math:
FSU gained .110 in vote shares in the coaches poll (interestingly, it took more from Alabama than Oregon) and .133 in the Harris Poll. Support for Oregon, on the other hand, slid by .052 and .095, respectively. But even after all that, the Noles are still a distant third to Oregon in both polls.
And there is very little chance the Noles can increase their vote shares absent an Oregon loss. None of the Ducks' remaining opponents have a losing record, so the Ducks won't lose much ground even if they manage to win ugly here and there. Conversely, none of FSU's remaining regular-season opponents have a winning record (including 1-8 Idaho and 4-4 archrival Florida), so there's little chance it can impress the voters further.
Then there are the computers. FSU is able to leapfrog Oregon this week mostly because of an overwhelming (and expected) gains in the six BCS computers. The Noles' .700-point edge in the computers was more than enough to offset Oregon's lead in the polls. But again, this won't last, probably not for more than a week.
Oregon will cut into FSU's computer advantage significantly with a win over Stanford. And assuming both teams finish the season unbeaten, the Ducks will have at least parity with the Noles in the computers, if not an outright lead. Each of Oregon's remaining four regular-season opponents, plus the Pac-12 title game foe (Arizona State, UCLA or USC) are all ranked in the Top 50 by the computers. If Oregon finishes the season 13-0, it'll likely have the No. 1 overall computer ranking, even ahead of Alabama.
So the bottom line is that as long as the Ducks maintain their still sizable edge in the polls, there is no likelihood for FSU to finish ahead of them in the final BCS standings. The Seminoles have reached their high-water mark after Saturday's big win over Miami, now they need to get help to stay there.
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